Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It Feels Like Advent Already...

...not because of the seasonal decorations at the mall, nor the email alerts coming from Blackfriday.com. It seems to me that the liturgy itself is anticipating the holiday season. In a good way.

In the Office of Readings, we had first readings from Daniel all last week. Daniel's visions are of an apocalyptic character. Their images and narratives seem to foreshadow what St. John wrote in Revelation, thus putting us in mind of the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus. And that is one of the three "advents" we are supposed to dwell on during Advent. (The other two being Jesus' incarnation &birth, and His personal "advent" in our souls with each and every holy communion.)

This week, we have Zechariah, all clearly prophecies of the Messiah, coming as Conqueror, King, Judge, and Shepherd, to name a few.  I mean when I read something like:
Rejoice heartily, O daughter of Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem!
For your king shall come to you; a just savior is he, 
Meek and riding on an ass, ,on a colt, the foal of an ass...

...I just  hear those  sleigh bells ringin' and ring-ting-tinglin' too when I read stuff like that. And I see Mary, meed and riding on an ass, carrying within her the King.

 True,  that this all leads up nicely to the feast of Christ the King this Sunday, which is the culmination and ending of liturgical year 2013.   But it also puts one in mind of the beginning of liturgical year 2014, don't you think?

Weekly Q&A Time for anyone who has a Divine Office question. Just put it in the comments below. 


  1. I've been using the two-year lectionary this year (which is what is used in Japan) and we are in Ezekiel now, but all your references to the one-year lectionary make me want to come back and join the party! I wonder which lectionary is use by the majority of LOTH users in the world?

    1. That's an interesting question, Russ. I've been told that they have the two year OOR cycle in Spain. And I there's a follower of this blog from an eastern european country ( Czech? Hungary? I forget which one) who I think has the two year version. I'll write a post asking this question and see who responds.

  2. Hi Daria, I have two advent questions. This evening (Sat Nov 30th), I begin using book 1 of my four book set Loth and the instructions are unclear. At the front of the Advent / Christmas book, there are appropriate hymns for use during advent, but the four week Psalter has all the regular hymns (the same ones from the two books of ordinary time). Are the Advent & Christmas hymns at the front of book 1 optional? If they are mandatory, why does book 1 have all the regular hymns in the four week Psalter? By the way, I have the same confusion regarding book 2 for Lent / Easter.

    1. Alan, it makes no sense to me why they keep the OT hymns in the psalters of advent and Lent/Easter. Maybe it was too big of a typesetting problem to take them out. But certainly one should use the seasonal hymn. But do realize that for private recitation the hymn is not required.
      Since you admire the older forms of liturgy, you will be pleased to know that the revised English breviary is supposed to go back to the official Roman hymns (in English translation), and remove many of the greatest hits of the 70s that we currently have.

    2. Daria, thanks for responding once again to my questions, especially during a holiday weekend. I do know a priest who skips the hymns when praying the Loth. I kind of lost respect for him because I judged him negligent in his obligation to pray the office. I’ve been re-reading the instructions for Loth and I can’t seem to find where it states the hymns are optional for private recitation. Do you know where I can find it? My Loth, only contains a few hymns for each hour of Advent and they are at the front of the book. Too much hassle and I might just bypass the hymns. I’m not going to purchase the African Loth because I don’t want to spend the money. I think it’s better to wait until the new American one is published. Hopefully it won’t take as long as predicted. I’m looking forward to the new Loth and I’m not sad about deleting the 1970s hits for more traditional hymns. I do hope more thought is put into the construction of the new four book set. Books two and three should have the appropriate seasonal hymns in the four week Psalter; otherwise the whole point of having a four book set becomes moot. I also hope more thought is given to the instructions. They should be clear and concise, with no ambiguities so anyone who wants to pray can learn without agonizing over it.